The Pennine Way, 1983

Day 8: Trough Heads to Low Force, Thursday, 4th August

15 miles in 9hrs 20 mins (10:00-19:20). Some sun. Strong wind to Baldersdale. Calm, sunny evening.

Accommodation: Holwick Head

Road A66 – Baldersdale – Lunedale – Middleton-in-Teesdale – Low Force

It was yet another windy night. I awoke at 07:15 and then it was off indoors for a huge cooked breakfast of bacon, sausages, eggs (proper ones!), bread, and tea. This was very filling and good value for £2. Richard taped up the big blister on my right heel as it was beginning to look a little nasty, and we reluctantly left the farm at 10:00.

We got rather a shock at Baldersdale: we saw the Bucket Brigade ahead of us again! We thought we’d be miles past them by then, considering that we’d done 23 miles the previous day. But no: there they were, as large as life but certainly not as natural.

Richard was very upset about this sighting, so we took a break for elevenses at Baldersdale Youth Hostel. Just along the road, we entered Hannah Hauxwell country at Low Birk Hat where all the gates and fences seemed to be held together by bits of red plastic rope. Then it was on to Middleton for a meal and a long rest. I bought some Scholl’s insoles to try and soothe my poor feet.

We had a pleasant evening stroll in trainers along the first part of the Tees. There was a pitch available at a pub south of Wynch Bridge which was where most of the other walkers were going. However, this was a mile off route, and, we later discovered, turned out to be a bit of a rip-off – it cost £1 to pitch, and you were in danger of getting all your worldly goods eaten by a pony that shared the same field. Richard found what he thought would be two useful sites for a wild pitch, but I was less than enthusiastic about either – especially as it meant having to pitch in the dark. So, we dumped our rucksacks over a wall and then waited in the High Force Hotel for nightfall, whiling away the time with three Cokes and a Chicken Supreme. Richard’s getting rather concerned by the amount of food I’m getting through! Anyway, reason finally prevailed, and we decided to pitch back along the Tees where the path was wide and very accommodating. I was more than glad to have the tent pitched and to be in bed by 23:00.